Childhood constipation is a common phenomenon often characterized by infrequent passage of stools or passage of hard stool. Sometimes constipation shows up as large hard stools that are painful to push out. Some children suffer from constipation for days or even for weeks, and some children with constipation may have bowel movements every day. This can cause a lot of other symptoms especially abdominal pain, nausea, poor appetite, soiling, blood in the stool and even bladder infections.
Every child is different and not all children show obvious signs of constipation to their parents. This makes constipation a sneaky problem which may have been going for a lot longer that we think, even for years. Most often the problem starts when the child is very young. When a child passes a painful bowel movement, his/her response is to hold the next stool in as long as possible in order to avoid more pain. Since the colon is absorbing the water in the stool, the longer the stool is held inside; the bigger and harder it gets. When the next bowel clearance occurs and stool moves out, it hurts even worse, as a result the child holds the next stool even longer and the painful cycle of constipated stool is initiated. This habit of holding the stool creates a bad problem. Other causes may include lesser intake of fluid and improper diet. In the case of many children who have a natural tendency to become constipated, the problem might be aggravated by a diet very low in fibre. A child who is taking cow’s milk more frequently maybe more prone to constipation.
Constipation can cause:
- Stomach cramps (the pain tends to come and go).
- Feeling of being less hungry than usual.
- Irritable behaviour.
- Anal fissures (small splits of the skin at the anus/bottom) which cause pain and bleeding at the anus, when doing a poo. Straining (pushing hard) to pass a large, hard poo can cause anal fissures.
- Holding-on behaviour to avoid doing a painful poo, such as squatting, crossing legs or refusing to sit on the toilet.
- Hard lumps of poo might be felt when pressing the abdomen.
Treatment to this childhood constipation should continue for time enough to allow the child regain the natural ability of timely bowel clearance. Treatment should include some of the following Common measures:
- A high-fiber diet with plenty of fluids.
- Children should learn to respond to their body’s urge to pass the stool.
- Reinforcing the good behaviours of sitting to pass the stool patiently.
- In the case of painful bowel clearance, we may use Ayurvedic laxatives which are purely natural and aids bowel clearance
Natural Laxatives are the herbal blends of potential herbs that help in timely bowel clearance and provide relief in constipation conditions. As per Ayurveda, the accumulation of undigested food and stool in the stomach and large intestines respectively and impaired Vata Dosha, results in creating blockade of the digestive tract causing improper bowel movement leading to constipation.
- Amlaki Powder: Despite being a reservoir of vitamin c and antioxidants, Amlaki or the indian gooseberry promotes digestive health, facilitates digestion, regulates elimination, and eases constipation.
- Fenugreek Powder: Fenugreek helps in numerous digestive problems such as upset stomach, constipation, and inflammation of the stomach. Fenugreek has been shown to increase appetite which helps to provide proper nutrients to the body in the required amount. The powdered form is easily available in the form of capsules.
- Avipattikar Churna: A polyherbal formulation that supports Healthy Digestion and Promotes Easy Daily Bowel Movement, it stimulates the organs of digestive system, excretory and urinary system, and neutralizes the acid secretion in the stomach.
- Hingvastak Churna: it is another powerful Ayurvedic remedy that relieves cramping and pain in the abdomen, constipation, gas and bloating. Because of its mild nature, it can be given to children with constipation problem.
- Nirogam Bowel Care: it is an Ayurvedic herbal supplement used for hyperacidity, gastritis, burning ache due to excess acid, loss of appetite and indigestion linked with gastritis. Nirogam Bowel Care supports organs of digestive system & excretory system. It promotes the easy daily bowel movement.
- Virechana: These are good naturally mild laxatives that stimulate bowel mobility and facilitate to regularize the natural tendency of the body for bowel clearance. It is helpful in relieving the symptoms of fullness and bloating in the abdomen. Because of its mild nature, it can be given to children with constipation problem.